As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another – Proverbs 27:17
The dictionary defines the word “friend” as “a person who is attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.” This definition is accurate, as far as it goes, but when we examine the deeper meaning of friendship, many more descriptors come to mind: trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, kindness, understanding, forgiveness, encouragement, humor, and cheerfulness, to mention but a few. Needless to say, our trusted friends and family members can help us discover God’s unfolding purposes for our lives. Our task is to enlist our friends’ wisdom, their cooperation, their honesty, and their encouragement.
If you genuinely want to strengthen your character, you need to build closer relationships with people who want to do the same. That’s why fellowship with like-minded believers should be an integral part of your life. Your friendships should be uplifting, enlightening, encouraging, and (above all) character-building.
Are your friends the kind of people who encourage you to seek God’s will and to obey God’s Word? If so, you’re choosing your friends wisely.
When you build lasting friendships that are pleasing to God, friendships with godly men and women whose values are admirable and whose intentions are honorable, you will be richly blessed. But if you find yourself spending time with folks whose priorities are as questionable as their ethics, you’re treading on dangerous ground. So here’s an invaluable tip for character building: be careful, very careful, how you choose your friends.
As you’re making friendships, be less concerned with appearances and more concerned with integrity. Resolve to be a trustworthy, encouraging, loyal friend to others. And make sure that you appreciate the genuine friends who, by their presence and their love, make you a better person. Friendship is, after all, a glorious gift, praised by God. Give thanks for that gift and nurture it.
Today, as you think about the nature and the quality of your friendships, remember the first rule of making (and keeping) friends: it’s the Golden Rule, and it starts like this: “Do unto others . . . .”
– Steve Arterburn
In as much as anyone pushes you nearer to God, he or she is your friend. – Barbara Johnson
God often keeps us on the path by guiding us through the counsel of friends and trusted spiritual advisors. – Bill Hybels